In Hollywood timing is everything. If a movie is Oscar worthy, the release date should be late in the year so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle and the Academy doesn’t forget about it.
The same can be said for the NFL. If you’re a backup quarterback heading into free agency, do yourself a favor and break franchise records in passing yards and touchdowns during the last game of the season in the final year of your contract.
Former Green Bay Packers’ perennial backup Matt Flynn did just that in 2011. Again, timing was a key factor.
Near the end of the 2011 season the Packers were 14-1 and had locked down the number one seed in the NFC. Enter Matt Flynn and his 480 yards passing to go along with six touchdowns. And the Oscar for best performance in the final game of your contract goes to, you guessed it, Matt Flynn against the Detroit Lions in a 45-41 win.
It’s worth noting that Detroit was a playoff team fighting for a higher seed in that record setting game in Green Bay for Flynn. It wasn’t a meaningless game for the Lions, they needed that win to avoid a trip to New Orleans in the first round of the playoffs.
Flynn was a seventh round selection out of LSU by the Packers in 2007. The LSU Tigers won the 2007 National Championship with Flynn at the helm.
Flynn’s record setting day against the Lions was enough to put Flynn on the NFL’s most wanted list for quarterbacks in 2012. The Seattle Seahawks had no problem tracking Flynn down. With a three-year, $26 million dollar contract, Flynn was Seattle’s new starting quarterback.
Well, he was the starter for what seemed like about 10 minutes. In the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, the Seahawks drafted quarterback Russell Wilson with the 75th overall pick. It didn’t seem as though any time had passed before the buzz started for Wilson, and Flynn was once again a backup.
With the performance against Detroit still fresh, but a bit more stale due to time and the fact that he lost his job to a rookie, the Oakland Raiders stepped in and traded for Flynn, making him a starter again.
The Raiders are basically taking a chance on Flynn for exactly the same reason the Seahawks did in 2012. Yes, he’s unproven, but he had one memorable game. Maybe two if you go back to 2010 when he put up nice numbers in a loss to the New England Patriots.
Taking a chance on Flynn was also a, “what other options do we have move,” by Seattle and Oakland. Despite Flynn’s pending one hit wonder status, the two clubs simply didn’t see Tavaris Jackson and Carson Palmer as the quarterbacks to lead their respective franchises in the future.
Wilson burst onto the scene in 2012 and led the Seahawks to a deep playoff run. Wilson is a rising star already, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that Flynn couldn’t beat out a rookie. Only time will tell whether or not Wilson is a can’t miss quarterback and Seattle had no choice but start him, regardless of Flynn’s talents or lack there of.
The Raiders have to erase Flynn’s brief stay in Seattle from their minds and hope that the small sample size that was the Detroit game was a preview of what’s ahead.
Despite rave reviews at rookie camp for the team’s 4th round pick Tyler Wilson out of Arkansas, Raiders’ head coach Dennis Allen has made it quite clear that Flynn will be the guy.
A quarterback with a possible wounded ego and less than a handful of starts under his belt with 1,083 yards passing and 9 touchdowns (six in one game) in his career, is now the starting quarterback in Oakland.
What do you say Raider Nation? You good with that?